Something acquired as a result of giving in exchange items of value—money, goods, services, or even a life.
As early as Abraham’s day people were formally buying and selling goods, properties, or services, using a medium of exchange such as money, much the same as today. Abraham “purchased with money” male slaves. (Ge 17:12, 13) Upon Sarah’s death Abraham formally purchased a family burial plot from Ephron, one of the sons of Heth. (Ge 23:3-20; 49:29-32) The details of that first Scripturally recorded legal contract of history are interesting.
In a true display of courtesy Abraham bowed down when making his offer. Not the field, but only the cave “which is at the extremity of [Ephron’s] field” is what Abraham wanted to buy. Ephron made a counteroffer. Whether he was feigning Oriental liberality by saying he would give the property to Abraham (Ge 23:7-11), or as some think, he was merely expressing willingness to part with it, that is ‘give it up’ for a price, is not certain. What is certain is his insistence that both the cave and the field be included in the deal. Final agreement was reached, the price named, the bargain made, and the money carefully weighed out, “four hundred silver shekels current with the merchants.” (c. $880) (Ge 23:16) In those days money was not minted into coins but was weighed on scales. Thus “the field and the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, which were within all its boundaries round about, became confirmed to Abraham as his purchased property.” All this legal transaction took place in the presence of both parties and witnesses, yes, “before the eyes of the sons of Heth among all those entering the gate of his city.” (Ge 23:17, 18) Similarly, Jacob later purchased a tract of land from the Shechemites.—Ge 33:18, 19.
During a seven-year famine, Joseph, as the prime minister of Egypt, sold grain at first for money, and when that was exhausted, for payment he accepted their domestic animals, next the land, and finally the people themselves.—Ge 42:2-25; 47:13-23.
The Law of Moses strictly forbade buying and selling on the Sabbath, as it also prohibited unfair business dealings. During Israel’s apostasy these laws were often violated.—Le 25:14-17; Ne 10:31; 13:15-18; Am 8:4-6.
When King David wanted to purchase the threshing floor of Araunah (Ornan), the man graciously tried to give it to the king. However, David insisted on paying a sum of 50 silver shekels ($110) for the immediate altar site plus the necessary sacrificial materials. Later, it appears, more of the surrounding property was added to include an area large enough for the whole temple site, the purchase price being 600 gold shekels by weight (c. $77,070). (2Sa 24:21-24; 1Ch 21:22-25) During the reigns of both Kings Jehoash and Josiah, purchases of materials and labor for the repair of the temple were made.—2Ki 12:9-12; 22:3-7.
Jeremiah purchased a field in his hometown of Anathoth, describing the legal transaction this way: “I wrote in a deed and affixed the seal and took witnesses as I went weighing the money in the scales.”—Jer 32:9-16, 25, 44.
In the Christian Greek Scriptures there are also a number of references made to purchasing goods and materials—foodstuffs, oil, garments, pearls, fields, houses, gold, eyesalve, merchandise in general, animals, and even humans. (Mt 13:44-46; 25:8-10; 27:7; Mr 6:37; Joh 4:8; 13:29; Ac 1:18; 4:34-37; 5:1-3; Re 3:18; 13:17; 18:11-13; see BANK, BANKER.) Believing Jews were by purchase released from the curse of the Law through Christ, who became a curse instead of them when he, although innocent, was hanged upon a stake. (Ga 3:13; 4:5) “With the blood of his own Son,” Jehovah purchased the entire “congregation of God.”—Ac 20:28.